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  1. #1
    Junior Member
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    Lifespan of a spoke?

    Ok, so.

    I ride a 1989 Cannondale touring bike and one of the wheels on it is the original 27 incher which came stock from the factory.

    Well today while riding to school I broke a spoke.
    It is the first spoke I ever broke.
    Now i'm scared and that's no joke.

    I took the bus back home later and replaced the broken spoke with one from an old junker wheel. My questions, however, are these:

    After so many years and so many miles are all of those old spokes "due"?
    Will they begin to go, one-by-one in the near future?
    Has anyone experienced any consecutive spoke breakage?


    My thoughts/hopes are that this one just had a manufacturing defect.

  2. #2
    Long Distance Cyclist Machka's Avatar
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    There's nothing scary about breaking one spoke. Your wheel should still remain fairly true and you should still be able to ride quite a distance with one broken spoke. If you break two at one time, you might need to release the brake because your wheel won't likely remain true ... and you should try to replace them soonish.

    If you start having a series of broken spokes, you might want to consider new rims. Things wear out over time. It happens. If your rim and spoke are from 1989, it wasn't likely a manufacturing defect, it was likely just worn out.

    A couple ways to help prevent broken spokes are to keep your wheel absolutely true, and to avoid potholes.

  3. #3
    Gear Hub fan
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    After 20 years of use the possibility is more could go.

    Spokes do have a finite life and it is decreased if they are not kept properly tensioned. Loose spoles will fail much sooner than properly tensioned ones.

    Carry a proper fitting spoke wrench and a broken spoke can be compensated for temporarily to allow finishing your ride.
    Gear Hubs Owned: Rohloff disc brake, SRAM iM9 disc brake, SRAM P5 freewheel, Sachs Torpedo 3 speed freewheel, NuVinci CVT, Shimano Alfine SG S-501, Sturmey Archer S5-2 Alloy. Other: 83 Colnago Super Record, Univega Via De Oro

    Visit and join the Yahoo Geared Hub Bikes group for support and links.
    http://groups.yahoo.com/group/Geared_hub_bikes/

  4. #4
    Great State of Varmint Panthers007's Avatar
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    I had 25 year old spokes on 25 year old wheels and Campy Record hubs (still perfect). The spokes were 14-gauge DT from Switzerland. None ever broke, but it was time to retire the rims.

    The 1982 Campy Records have some age-spots that polished right out with Simichrome. Other than that - perfectly good for a another build.
    How do you keep an idiot in suspense?

  5. #5
    Junior Member
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    Thanks for the tips. Looks like i'll stick with 'em for the near future.
    This does seem like a pretty good justification for some new 700c's though!


    Quote Originally Posted by Machka View Post

    A couple ways to help prevent broken spokes are to keep your wheel absolutely true,
    and to avoid potholes.
    You have clearly never been to Buffalo, NY

  6. #6
    Senior Member
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    Quote Originally Posted by alexkar000 View Post


    You have clearly never been to Buffalo, NY
    Or long island! My ride would be twice as long on the same exact path to avoid all the bumps lol.
    2009 BD Mercier Galaxy AL/Campy Veloce/PZ Aero Bars/Fulcrum 5's
    2008 Argon 18 Mercury/Dura Ace/Vision base Zipp Aero/Fulcrum 5's/Wheelbuilder Disc
    1992 Trek Antelope 800/Shimano 100/Some Cheap 26"wheel

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